A Life Stolen, A Night Borrowed
People cheered and clapped. White confetti was thrown about in the air. A beautiful blue sky above was the perfect ceiling for the outdoor event.
So many happy, smiling faces. Laughing, singing. Bright summer colors. A white pavilion under which the ceremony was held. The grass of the field was shining a vibrant green, and the leaves of the trees remained still in the gentle breeze.
The man clothed in black stood a ways away, separated from the joyous crowd. He did not belong there, not with them. Always alone. Always separate. By himself, he watched from a distance as his world became darker. However, he did not even feel lonely. He had been prepared for this day. More than anything, he had simply given up all hope. There was little emotion left for him to feel. Just a sense of distant pain and loss, sorrow and anger.
Having stayed until the very end, the man could bear no more. Silently he turned and walked away.
When the ceremony ended and the couple had kissed, the guests all rose to their feet, many coming forward to offer their congratulations. Lily smiled grandly, thanking all of her friends and family. James too was occupied with a rush of people.
Somehow, through the light colors and bright smiles, a flash of a very different color caught Lily's eye- the darkest of blacks, a color that no normal person would wear to a summer wedding.
Lily hurriedly pushed through the crowd, offering her sincerest apologies as she made her way to the edge of the seats.
Sure enough, there he was in the distance, walking away. The man that Lily had most wanted to come, but had least expected. Lily hiked up the bottom of her wedding dress as she chased after the figure in black. Her apparel kept her from running, but she managed to walk speedily enough to finally catch up with him.
"Severus!" she called out when she was near enough to be heard.
Severus slowly came to a halt and he turned to face the bride.
Lily laughed and rolled her eyes at him.
"Well, I just didn't expect you to come! I'm glad to see you here. How could you leave without seeing me first?" Severus smiled weakly.
"I did not feel that I would be the most welcome."
"Don't be silly!" she scoffed. "I mailed you an invitation, didn't I?" Severus merely raised his brows and glanced quickly between Lily and the pavilion from which she had come.
"James is different," said Lily gently. "You can't honestly think I'd marry him if he weren't, do you?"
"It doesn't matter," said Severus. "He and I will never get along. I'm sure he'd rather not have me here. Besides, you looked so happy; I didn't want to intrude."
"But you make me happy Severus!" she exclaimed. "You're so silly sometimes. You're my oldest friend, I wanted to see you."
"Don't pretend everything is ok," Severus commanded quietly. His blunt statement shook Lily and the smile hesitantly faded from her face to be replaced with a sadder expression.
"I miss you Severus," confessed Lily softly. "We used to be so close."
"We drifted apart during the last few years of school. You never cared enough to do anything about it then, and I doubt much has changed," Severus criticized. Lily was taken aback by his harsh tone.
"That's not true!" she cried. "I just... everything became so complicated. And, me? What about you? Those... those creeps that you started hanging out with, what was that all about? Those are the friends you would choose?"
"Well I would never have dated someone that bullied my best friend!" Severus snapped. At this, both of them fell silent. The guilt brought tears to Lily's eyes and Severus felt ashamed for having lost control. He hadn't come today to cause Lily pain.
"I'm sorry Lily," he whispered. Severus reached out and grasped her arm gently. "I didn't mean that. I'm sure he's different. If you… love him that much."
"Yes. I do," she responded quietly, not meeting his eyes. Severus looked away as well, unable to handle his feelings when he gazed at her stunning red hair and green eyes.
"Well. You should get back. I'm sure your husband is waiting for you."
Lily closed her eyes, trying to shut out the sad, empty feeling filling her heart. When she opened her eyes only moments later, Severus had already gone. Lily was left alone, stuck watching him walk away. Soon she forced herself to turn around and she returned to the party.
Knock knock knock! A loud pounding bolted Severus from his sleep. Grumbling, he accidentally rolled over and fell out of bed. Rubbing his now aching back, Severus stumbled to his door, slowly waking up.
Who the hell is knocking at my door? He thought, annoyed. Severus yanked the door open to reveal a familiar face.
"Is it true?" Lily demanded sharply, shoving her way past Severus into his house.
"Bloody hell Lily," cried Severus. "What is the time?"
"Two in the morning now tell me," she pressed him.
"Lily, I haven't seen you for over a year, you show up at my door pounding at 2am, and you expect me to have a clue what on earth you're talking about?"
"Are you working for him?" she asked forcefully. Severus's blood seemed to cool and his heart rate slowed.
"I think it's best if you go home now Lily," he suggested kindly. Lily's green eyes flashed in anger.
"How can you justify hating James, who was just an immature boy, when you join up with them? James at least would never-"
"Oh yes, praise Saint James!" said Severus. "Stop talking to me about him. I don't want to hear it."
"What is your problem?" shouted Lily.
"He stole my life!" was the shouted reply. As soon as the words were out, Severus regretted them. Lily was confused.
"What do you mean by that?" Severus looked sharply at her and laughed.
"He took everything I should have had. That no good, arrogant boy took it all."
"Took what? What are you talking about Severus?" she pressed, perplexed.
"You!" he exclaimed. "You-… you should have been mine. You were my best friend. You were everything. You were my life. And James took you."
"What are you saying Severus?" she asked quietly, her cheeks beginning to color.
"See, even just there. Why are you calling me Severus? You know, you haven't called me 'Sev' in years. Do you even remember?" he sneered bitterly. "That's what you used to call me. Back when we were close, before he ruined it."
"I loved you!" Severus burst. Lily's cheeks reddened and she took a step backwards.
"You never… you never said…" she mumbled. Severus scoffed.
"Don't pretend you didn't know." Lily regained her spirit and she stood up straighter, staring defiantly into his eyes.
"I'm not pretending anything. I didn't know. I thought… well, you never said. All the time when James was chasing me and I… well I thought that if you liked me, you would have said something! But you just acted like the perfect best friend. You never showed that you cared any more than that. We drifted apart and it never seemed like it truly affected you- especially when you began to hang around with that awful crowd," Lily told him. Severus stared incredulously at her.
"You didn't know?" Lily shook her head no. A sad smile came upon Severus' face.
"I loved you from the first summer we met Lily."
"Sev…" whispered Lily in distress, stepping closer to him. "I always loved you. I was waiting for you. I thought- well I-… I'm so sorry."
Severus began to shake his head no and his face contorted into a confused, pained expression.
"No you… you can't have. You never… I…"
By now, Lily was crying softly, her breath catching.
"Tell me Severus, please… When did I lose you?"
"What do you mean?" he asked in confusion.
"You say you loved me. At what time did I lose my chance with you? When did you stop loving me?" she asked, shaking from the shock of all that had been revealed. Severus stepped closer to Lily and softly caressed her cheek with his thumb.
"Lily, I never stopped loving you. I love you still. I will always love you."
The tears were openly flowing now, and Lily was gasping slightly for breath.
"I'm sorry if that bothers you," he apologized, his hand dropping from her cheek. Lily managed to chuckle through her tears.
"Sev," she said as her breath calmed. "I love you."
Those three words struck Severus like a tidal wave. I love you. The one person to whom he had devoted his life, the person he had always loved… I love you… she loved him in return. What he had always wanted, always dreamed of. What he'd always thought he could never have.
I love you.
Severus stepped even closer to Lily and she felt her heart rate increase. Slowly, Severus stroked her soft red hair. Entwining his fingers in her hair, Severus gently held the back of her head. With two hearts beating rapidly, Severus swiftly leaned in and kissed her. Lily leaned into Severus in return, kissing back with all the passion she had stored for years.
The two kissed each other fiercely, pressing their bodies close together. Slowly, Severus backed Lily up against the door. Lily moaned slightly as her back hit the door and Severus began to plant kisses lovingly on her neck and shoulders. Together, Severus and Lily slid Lily's jacket off and it fell to the floor. Severus wrapped his arm around her waist and Lily held tightly onto his arm, her other hand in his hair, clutching him to her.
Their passionate kisses continued as the heat between them grew. Both Severus and Lily were filled with ecstasy, finally being able to be with the one they loved.
Suddenly Lily stepped back forcefully. Her eyes told Severus of the shame and confusion she felt. Lily stumbled backwards and hurriedly grabbed her jacket, heading towards the door. Grabbing the handle, she opened the door saying,
"This is wrong. I'm sorry Sev, this is wrong. I'm married. I made a commitment. I can't… It's wrong. Goodbye."
Lily said all this facing the outside, unable to look at Severus. About to leave, Lily was stopped by Severus gently grabbing her hand.
"Lily… James stole my life." Lily's heart pounded as she felt Severus step to her so that their bodies were just barely touching.
"Let me borrow just one night," he whispered in her ear. Lily's eyes closed as his soft whisper seduced her.
The door closed quietly, and Lily turned to face the man she loved as they went to share their only night together.